Written evidence from the Northern Way
This submission sets out the Northern Way Transport
Compact's evidence on high speed rail. The Northern Way was the
public and private sector partnership funded by the three Northern
RDAs that promoted the North's productivity and output growth
and closed at the end of March 2011.
The Northern Way Transport Compact has concluded
in the context of a national rail investment strategy, high speed
rail will bring substantial and worthwhile transformational economic
benefits to the North and to the nation.
Government's benefit assessment is conservative and that, in reality,
benefits will be significantly greater than the £44 billion
calculated for the Y shaped network.
benefits at over £6 billion are an important part of
the Government's benefits assessment. The Northern Way's evidence
is that proportionally, the North's economy will receive a greater
agglomeration uplift than that in London and the South East.
speed rail will create the circumstances to accelerate the North's
economic growth and will help rebalance the economy North South.
the Government has not quantified the impacts of high speed rail
on the size of the economy measured by Gross Value Added, the
Northern Way's assessment is that these could be a multiple of
the £44 billion in economic benefits quantified to date.
greatest economic benefits come from a network approach that brings
major cities closer together and spreads prosperity across regions.
high speed rail network that serves both sides of the Pennines
is needed. The proposal for a Y-shaped network substantially meets
North's economy will benefit from direct high speed rail services
to Central London and Heathrow and a network with a direct link
to HS1 and the Channel Tunnel, both provided by the Government's
greatest economic gains will come from serving city centres, linked
with complementary economic development and land use master planning
and strengthening of local transport networks.
the high speed line from London to the West Midlands should be
the first phase of the national network.
the eastern and western limbs of the Y-shaped network in parallel,
with completion in 2032-33 as the Government suggests in its consultation,
will help minimise any competitive disadvantage between regions.
provide benefits to the east side of the Pennines in 2026 the
Government should consider a link between HS2 and the Midland
Main Line enabling access from Yorkshire and the Humber and the
North East to London Euston and to destinations served by the
proposed station at Old Oak Common, including Heathrow.
Government should consider the case and timing of extensions of
the Y shaped network north of Leeds and Manchester to serve the
North East and Scotland directly by new lines, as further developments
of the national high speed rail network.
modern electrified route is needed across the Penninesthe
key route in the North that will not benefit directly from the
Government's high speed rail proposals. This would build on the
benefits to the North of the Northern Hub Strategy which must
be delivered as a priority, in full by 2019.
also remains a pressing need for medium term investment in the
existing classic north south main linesthe East Coast Main
Line, Midland Main Line and West Coast Main Linepending
the completion of the Y shaped high speed rail network in 2032-33.
1. This submission sets out the Northern Way
Transport Compact's evidence and position on high speed rail which
it has developed over the last five years.
2. The Northern Way was the public and private
sector partnership funded by the three Northern RDAs that closed
at the end of March 2011. The Northern Way Transport Compact's
remit has been the identification of the transport priorities
that will maximise the North's economic growth whilst minimising
the impact on the environment. As part of its work, the Transport
Compact has helped the North establish a broad consensus around
the case for high speed rail.
3. As described by the Independent Evaluation
of the Northern Way (April 2011), the Northern Way Transport Compact
has "coordinated across a range of partners in the North,
providing a forum for discussion of evidence versus parochial
interests and allowing transport experts to talk to politicians."
The Independent Evaluation also concluded that the Transport Compact
has "produced a clear and consistent approach to influencing
transport policy and was arguably the star performer of the Northern
Way with demonstrable benefits
The influencing and advocacy
on transport was built on the evidence base, focusing on the links
between transport and economic development in the North."
The Independent Evaluation further concludes that "the
lesson for the North going forward would be to ensure that there
is a body which exists to enable the agreement of a joint position
on priorities for investment in transport schemesthis consensus
is valued by government. This needs to be achieved in a relatively
short timeframe otherwise opportunities for future transport investment
in the North will pass by."
4. The Northern Way Transport Compact's Strategic
Direction for Transport is an evidence-based assessment of
the most appropriate transport interventions that will promote
productivity gain, while at the same time seeking to protect and
enhance the North's natural and built environment, and contributing
to the nation's commitments regarding climate change. Looking
over 20 to 30 years, it sits above the level of individual priority
schemes and projects. The Strategic Direction sets out the types
of interventions which will have the greatest productivity impact,
as well as where in the North those interventions will have the
5. A key conclusion of the Strategic Direction
for Transport is that a balanced investment strategy is needed
that considers transport links within and between the North's
city regions, and between the North and the rest of the country,
especially central London and Heathrow.
6. Having established the Strategic Direction
for Transport, the Northern Way Transport Compact then identified
Short, Medium and Long Term Transport Priorities. The prioritisation
work shows that while the transport proposals being pursued by
stakeholders across the North will make worthwhile contributions
to productivity growth, taken together they do not allow the Strategic
Direction for Transport to be met. Consequently, if the North's
productivity growth is to be maximised a number of the "Strategic
Delivery Gaps" need to be addressed. The Transport Compact
identified strategic delivery gaps for the rail network, the road
network and associated with network integration. The rail gaps
are the Northern Hub (the strategy to transform rail in the North),
rail gauge enhancements for multi-modal container traffic, a rail
rolling stock strategy and strategies for trans-Pennine and north-south
rail (including high speed rail). The road gaps relate to the
need for a long term strategy to keep the strategic road network
moving and a north-wide approach to behavioural change. For network
integration the strategic gaps relate to pan-Northern smart ticketing
and strategic park and ride.
1. What are the arguments for High Speed Rail?
7. High speed rail is a once in a generation
opportunity to transform the economic prospects of the North.
Work published by the Northern Way in March 2011(Transforming
Our Economy and Our Connectivity: High Speed Rail for the NorthIssues
and Evidence in Response to the Government's High Speed Rail Consultation
available at www.thenorthernwaytansportcompact.com) identifies
that the case for high speed rail to serve the North is straightforward.
This is because:
(a) Links between the North and the World City
functions in London (as well as links between the North's city
regions) are of fundamental importance to the Northern economy
and its productivity.
(b) North south links, particularly to London,
will become more, not less, important over time. There is no question
that new north-south capacity will be needed, only when it is
required and what form it should take.
(c) The existing road and rail networks linking
the north and south have finite capacity and they will become
increasingly congested and journeys will become extended and more
unreliable. There is no prospect of any significant increase in
north-south road capacity. The future strategy for the motorway
network is focussed on managing congestion.
(d) Air links between the North and London are
increasingly under threat. Now only Manchester and Newcastle airports
have links with Heathrow. Constrained capacity at Heathrow will
amplify the commercial pressures on these links in coming years.
(e) There are worthwhile and value for money
proposals for increasing north-south rail capacity on the existing
main lines and these should be pursued. However, the capacity
increment that such enhancements will bring is finite and not
sufficient to meet the needs of the North's economy if it is to
grow to its full potential. Any further capacity increases would
be highly disruptive to implement, as well as being very costly.
(f) The most cost effective way to provide the
north-south capacity that the North requires is to build new railway
lines. The extra benefits that come from operating this new capacity
at high speed transform the economic and productivity benefits
that the new capacity will deliver.
(g) If high speed rail is judged not worth proceeding
with, the consequence will be demand well in excess of capacity.
This will inevitably lead to ever increasing real-term fare increases
as a demand management tool, to the economic detriment of the
2. How does High Speed Rail fit with the Government's
transport policy objectives?
8. Speaking in Shipley at the end of May in his
first major speech as Prime Minister, David Cameron identified
the Coalition Government's goal of rebalancing the economy away
from the heavy reliance on the South East, and through the growth
of private sector businesses.
9. As set out in written evidence and debated
at an oral session of the Transport Select Committee's Transport
and the Economy Inquiry, the Northern Way Transport Compact's
evidence shows that what is needed to foster the North's economic
growth is a balanced approach that looks at the connectivity needs
of travel within city regions and the links between
the North's city regions. Also important are links between the
North and London with its World City functions, and international
connectivity via gateways within the North and elsewhere in the
country including Heathrow. Enhancing connectivity within city
regions is focused on expanding labour supply across functional
labour markets. Improving the connectivity between city regions
facilitates the movement of goods, business to business links
and allows the expansion of labour markets, most notably for entrepreneurial
high level skills. International connectivity facilitates trade.
10. The Northern Way Transport Compact has been
mindful of the time taken to develop significant transport interventions,
the importance of bringing forward investment proposals in a timely
manner and the importance of the development of long term plans
as well as the phased delivery of transport priorities in the
short and medium term. The Northern Way Transport Compact's priorities
align with the five year control periods (2009-14, 2014-19 and
2019 and beyond) and have to date received substantial backing
by Government. The Transport Compact's Priorities for the North's
Strategic Networks involve:
2009-14: Additional Rail
Rolling Stock; North West rail electrification (committed); start
of work on Northern Hub delivery (committed); rail gauge enhancement
of the routes from Doncaster to the West Midlands and Doncaster
to Edinburgh and Glasgow) and linking in the Tees, Tyne and Humber
Ports (committed except for linking in the Humber Ports); Managed
Motorway projects on key congested sections in the North (committed).
2014-19: Further rail
rolling stock; completion of the Northern Hub Strategy; electrification
and gauge enhancement between Manchester, Leeds and York; interim
improvements to the East Coast, Midland and West Coast Main Lines
pending high speed rail; gauge enhancement between Doncaster and
the Humber Ports; further Managed Motorway investment and targeted
improvements to road access to the Ports of Immingham, Hull and
2019 and beyond: Further
rail rolling stock; delivery of the Y shaped high speed rail network;
and longer term solutions to the management of motorway congestion
(including consideration of the role of charging).
11. A widely held criticism of the previous Government's
2007 Rail White Paper has been that it lacked clear medium and
long term components. This needs to be fully addressed when the
Coalition Government publishes its high speed rail strategy at
the end of 2011 and its Transport White Paper and High Level Output
Statement in summer 2012.
3. Business case
12. Nationally, the number of trips made by rail
is now higher than at any time in peacetime since the 1920s. The
last 10 years have seen strong, sustained growth in long distance
rail travel. Notably, and in contrast to traffic on the national
motorway network and domestic and international air travel, long
distance rail travel continued to grow through the recession.
13. Past investment has not kept pace with the
growth in demand. If new capacity is not provided and demand is
constrained, it is evident that the North's economy will suffer.
Expanding the capacity of the road network to provide for the
growth in north-south demand would be prohibitively expensive
and environmentally unacceptable. Air travel is not a viable alternative.
Greater north-south rail capacity is needed to support and facilitate
the growth and re-structuring of the North's economy. Upgrading
existing lines would be expensive and very disruptive over a long
period, as well as offering only a limited capacity increase.
The optimal way to increase the capacity of the north south rail
network is by building new lines.
14. Faster journeys by high speed rail will support
the growth of the North's economy in two ways:
(a) It will make the existing economy more productive
and provide economic benefits to non-business users.
(b) It creates the opportunity to support the
further economic growth and regeneration of the North and the
re-balancing of the economy from the South and away from the public
15. If high speed rail is judged not worth proceeding
with, the consequence will be demand well in excess of capacity.
This will inevitably lead to ever increasing real-term fare increases
as a demand management tool, to the economic detriment of the
4. The Strategic Route
16. The Government's proposal for a Y-shaped
national network substantially meets the Northern Way Transport
Compact's evidence-based position that there is a need for a north
south high speed rail network that serves both sides of the Pennines.
In addition, the Northern Way Transport Compact has also considered
it clear that any national network will be implemented in phases.
The case for the London to West Midlands line being the first
phase of the national network, followed rapidly by the full build
out of the Y shaped network, is overwhelming.
17. The Northern Way Transport Compact has however
also concluded that:
(a) There remain opportunities both to increase
the economic and productivity benefits that high speed rail will
bring to the North, as well as to bring forward the date when
these benefits will be enjoyed. These need to be explored as the
Government develops its end of year strategy and include a link
between the HS2 and the Midland Main Line in order to provide
benefits in 2026 to the east side of the Pennines at that date.
(b) Further work is warranted to examine the
case for northward extension of the dedicated high speed network
beyond Manchester towards Glasgow and beyond Leeds towards Newcastle
18. In regard to Heathrow, the Northern Way Transport
Compact agreed with the conclusions of the Mawhinney Review and
the Government about the timing of serving Heathrow Airport directly
and that passive provision for a high speed link to Heathrow should
therefore be constructed as part of the first phase.
19. Intermediate destinations between London
and Birmingham would be best served by development of services
using capacity freed up on the West Coast Main Line.
5. Economic rebalancing and equity
20. The Northern economy is underperforming when
compared with the more prosperous regions in the South. On a per
capita basis, Gross Value Added in the North is 80% of the South
21. As the North's economy grows and as it restructures,
north-south links, particularly to London will become more, not
less important over time in economic terms. London is a World
City and global financial hub and as such offers financial, legal
and other services essential to businesses in the North. Economic
growth in the North will increase demand to access the internationally
renowned services that London offers, not diminish it. On top
of this, by virtue of its size and wealth London and the South
East is the largest domestic market for the North's businesses
and, of course, as the nation's capital it is the home of government.
22. The Northern Way Transport Compact has identified
that a north-south high speed rail network serving both sides
of the Pennines has the potential to generate agglomeration benefits
through linking the northern city region economies. In analysis
pre-dating the Government's identification of the Y-shaped network
as its preferred way forward and for a more extensive network,
these agglomeration impacts are valued at £13 billion
PV, (using the Department for Transport's current methodology).
Of this £13 billion, £5 billion is in the
North of England. Proportionally, the North's economy receives
a greater uplift than that in London and the South East.
23. Work looking at agglomeration impacts has
also been undertaken by 4NW, the former local authority leaders'
board for the North West as well as by a consortium of the Leeds
and Sheffield City Regions. This work also identifies substantial
agglomeration benefits for the North. For the preferred Y-shaped
network, analysis for 4NW identifies that it would
result in productivity benefits of £1 billion a year
by 2030, of which 20% would accrue to the North West. The work
for the Leeds and Sheffield city regions identifies that a high
speed link between the two city regions and London could deliver
productivity gains of at least £1.2bn PV to the two city
24. The Department for Transport's own assessment
is also that high speed rail will generate substantial agglomeration
benefits. Around 15% of the economic benefits that HS2, the line
from London to the West Midlands, will generate are associated
from agglomeration and a further 5% from addressing imperfect
competition. Together wider impacts result in £4 billion
PV worth of benefits. Looking at the Y-shaped network, this figure
increases to £6.3 billion in total.
25. When considering Department for Transport's
figure, it is important to note that for their assessment of the
wider impacts of the lines beyond the West Midlands to Leeds and
Manchester, they have used a "rule of thumb" approach
and consequently have adopted a very prudent assumption on the
size of the benefits. Evidence from the Northern Way, 4NW and
the Yorkshire authorities all suggests that full application of
the wider impacts methodology would result in the Y returning
substantially greater wider impacts than currently conservatively
assessed by the Department for Transport.
26. However, the principal benefit of high speed
rail identified by stakeholders across the North and by the Government
is that it will also stimulate a change in the structure of the
economy and that it will increase Gross Value Added (GVA). Such
transformational changes will happen because high speed rail will
support and facilitate growth of employment in the most productive
locations (which are in and around city centres). It will also
support employment growth in the most productive sectors of the
economy. These GVA benefits do not form part of HS2 Ltd's value
for money assessment.
27. Techniques to quantify the impacts of transport
investments such as high speed rail on the size of the economy
are in their infancy. Given the Northern Way Transport Compact
identified the criticality of transport connectivity to the North's
economic growth and the important potential impacts of GVA analysis
on funding availability and scheme prioritisation, we commissioned
the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of
Leeds to review the methods that have been developed to assess
the GVA impacts of transport investment. A Northern Way sponsored
study by the Spatial Economic Research Centre at the London School
of Economics has also modelled the GVA uplift of rail journey
28. Collectively, the Northern Way Transport
Compact's review of work that has been done to look at the impacts
of major transport investments suggests that GVA benefits could
be up to three times the size of welfare benefits assessed in
a conventional cost benefit appraisal. For this potential to be
realised, the Northern Way Transport Compact has acknowledged
that further investments may be needed which could be in complementary
transport enhancements, for example to local public transport
networks serving a high speed rail station or it could be in sites
and premises or skills and training. This evidence is further
demonstration of the transformational potential of high speed
6. Other Impacts
29. By relieving the capacity constrained classic
north south main lines (the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main
Line, and East Coast Main Line) the Y shaped high speed rail network
will deliver benefits for the north's economy by creating the
opportunity to enhance local commuter and inter-regional services
and to release additional capacity for growth of rail freight.
30. High speed rail will also contribute to meeting
the nation's obligations to reduce carbon emissions. Analysis
by ATOC for Greengauge 21 shows that with load factors similar
to those currently experienced on the Eurostar services between
London and Paris and London and Brussels, high speed rail already
has lower carbon emissions per passenger mile than existing inter-city
trains, domestic aviation or cars. High speed rail's per passenger
mile emissions will fall further as technological advancement
(eg use of lighter materials in train construction, more efficient
motive power) will lower per passenger mile emissions. The progressive
de-carbonisation of electricity generation will also reduce further
high speed rail's carbon emissions per passenger mile. When considering
carbon emissions, high speed rail currently has and will maintain
a clear advantage over alternative modes.